Image Credit: www.osbm.nc.gov
Budget. A word overused but under-applied.
“Sorry bro, takde bajet ah sekarang”
“I’ll pass for now, need to save money first lah.”
“Can wait till my gaji masuk first ah?”
Do the above phrases sound familiar? You bet. They all linked to a syndrome called “Gaji Sekadar Cukup Makan” so familiar to fellow Malaysians or in other words, living from paycheck to paycheck.
Why is this the case? Is the Malaysian economy that bad? Are Malaysians really underpaid that much? Honestly, it’s what you make of it and how you make the best of the situation you are in. In many cases, the reason most people face financial problems is not having a budget.
Whether you earn RM 3000 or RM 10000, if at the end of the month you are left with RM0 you will still feel broke!
Hence, you should start budgeting your money monthly.
So let’s see…why budget?
1) Understand the difference between wants and needs
I understand…you need everything. You need that latest iPhone/Samsung/Huawei smartphone. You need that hot Starbucks latte…at least 3 times a week. Or maybe even that limited edition Pink Swarovski KL dUCk scarf costing RM 800 (which will instantly make you look cute like Vivy Yusof, of course). Simply put, everything you want is a need lah.
Oh, except saving 20% of your monthly income. That is obviously just a want…
2) Plan for the important things in life
Okay, let’s get to the “important things” in life. How much do you need to save for a house? Or…*ahem* marriage? Not sure, you say? Maybe we should start with how much you have left over every month. Multiply that by 12 and you’ll have an estimated annual amount you should have saved.
Now compare that to the total amount you need to achieve that goal that you have in mind. How far off are you? If it’s significant, consider creating a budget and prioritise your expenses.
3) Prepare for emergencies
Do you have an emergency fund? Should you have one? Yep, definitely. In life, there are so many things that could go wrong whether it is your car breaking down, losing your job unexpectedly, or getting hospitalised for something as small as dengue or a huge cyst. These could cost you thousands of ringgit.
But you’ll worry about it when the time comes right? True. You’ll also be worrying about the insufficient balance in your bank account then. Start saving a portion of your income for emergencies. Get an insurance plan too while you’re at it. Heard of the saying “Sediakan payung sebelum hujan“? Trust me, you’ll be grateful you prepared that payung during the rainstorm, whenever it happens. GET ONE.
4) Track your personal growth
This is an interesting one. Don’t you think it will be cool to look back one day and see how far you’ve come? Yes, you’re probably surprised at how much things have changed since puberty struck. Amazing right? Now let’s do the same for your finances.
What if…10 years down the road you get that big promotion and start earning an additional RM 20k per month? You’ll definitely celebrate that big achievement when it happens and look back at how much you earned just 10 years ago.
5) Tells you when it’s time to change jobs
Gaji ciput je? Realising the increasing cost of living (and your stagnating salary) hurting your finances? If you have a budget, you can see that red flag when it happens and start creating your plan to ciaooo…
6) Spend on luxury goods as you wish
I don’t think Malaysians need a reminder to spend on luxury goods. I honestly don’t. Just look at the number of BMWs and Mercs on the road belonging to these young engineers just starting out in the oil and gas industry with the large national/multi-national oil companies. If you can afford it (and break your bank while at it), why not flaunt it? To those bros out there, nice car…just don’t forget to engineer your finances too okay?
7) Stop blaming your boss, your menteri, your government, Mat Jib, etc
Tak cukup duit? Whose fault is it? Obviously everyone but yours! Hmm…amboi.